Wayne Newton is one of the most popular American singers who rose to fame in the late 1950s.
He was born on April 3, 1942, in Roanoke, Virginia, and spent his early childhood on his family farm, where he lived with his auto mechanic father, Patrick Newton, and his mother, Evelyn.
The Daddy Don’t Walk So Fast singer didn’t have a very blessed childhood and had bronchial asthma, so he often remained absent from school.
“The minute winter would set in, I would get sick,” he wrote in his autobiography Once Before I Go. “Maybe that’s when my parents started to pay more attention to my brother. They may have felt they should show my brother more notice since they spent so much time nursing me.”
His health issues forced his family to move out of Virginia and make a new home in Arizona.
“Even though the hurt was never verbalized, I felt it. It was as if I were a burden. At night I would lie in bed and think how they were giving up everything they ever wanted because of me,” he wrote. “For my parents, it meant tearing up their roots and leaving everything they had known behind.”
Being fond of music, Wayne learned to play guitar and piano at a very young age and decided to become a musician while he was still a kid.
Newton and his bother Jerry got their first show in Arizona when he was fifteen.
They performed at supermarkets as part of The Lew King Ranger Show and appeared on television, earning them more gigs to perform.
Wayne was studying in junior high school when he and his brother received an offer to play at the Fremont Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The brothers moved to Vegas, where Newton became the real star that he always aspired to become.
“At first, they were set to perform for two weeks – but they ended up staying for a year. Soon, he went on to play six shows a night for five years.”
In an interview with Closer, Newton revealed that he had to get a work permit at age 15.
“No matter what you were doing in a casino, you had to be 21, so I needed a work permit at age 15,” he said. “So people really took me in to raise me, and made sure I stayed out of trouble and didn’t go down the wrong path.”
The L-O-V-E later performed his solo shows in Vegas and earned the title of ‘Mr. Las Vegas.’ He was also lucky enough to be mentored by the nation’s most prominent artists like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Darin.
“What I learned from people that befriended me, like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and on and on is that the one thing that will make you happy is your ability to adjust to life. And you must be disciplined and treat every show like it’s your last one — because one day it will be!” said Newton.
He’s also known by another nickname, Mr. Midnight Idol.
“[The nickname] came from a writer who came through Vegas to review a show. At the end of his review, he wrote: ‘Wayne Newton is truly Mr. Las Vegas’,” he recalled. “All of a sudden, I was doing shows in Chicago or Denver and they would say, ‘Mr. Las Vegas opens tonight.’ That one really stuck — and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
According to Insider, “by 1992, Newton was bankrupt and $20 million in debt.”
“Even though he made his way out of debt, Newton’s money problems didn’t stop there. The IRS sued him in 2005 for failing to pay $1.8 million on the sale of a house. Newton’s property, the 40-acre Case de Shenandoah estate, was seized in 2010 for reportedly failing to pay off a $3.35 million loan, though eventually it was agreed that the property could be turned into a public attraction.”
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